Boateng wants to coach in S-League

Boateng wants to coach in S-League

He wore the likeness of boxing legend Muhammad Ali on his chest and, like "The Greatest", George Boateng made a wild prediction on Monday.

The 38-year-old, who plays for Malaysian Super League side T-Team, believes he will be a manager in the English Premier League within five years.

And he hopes to begin the journey in Singapore.

The former Middlesbrough captain and Dutch international is eyeing a coaching role in the S-League, and is open to the idea of being a player-coach first.

"If I get a job here in Singapore, it's not because of money... when you've played 13 seasons in the EPL, money isn't an issue... It's because of the driving force within me that I want to achieve something," said Boateng, who is on a personal trip here.

"Make no mistake, I'm only going to use this as a step-up, and I guarantee you in the next five years I'm going to be a Premier League manager."

Over the last 18 months, Boateng has managed to secure the Uefa 'A' coaching licence. With his T-Team contract ending this month, the defensive midfielder is looking to a future on the touchline.

A few S-League clubs, including recently crowned champions Tampines Rovers, have yet to confirm their coach for next season.

"I'm a person who likes to prove myself, and money's not an issue," said the father of two, who has his eye out for a club that is well managed and has good facilities.

"I have to buy into the club (it's budget and plans) and the club has to be interested in me before we can sit and negotiate."

Until Everton defender Sylvain Distin surpassed it last year, Boateng's 384 Premier League appearances was the most by any foreign outfield player.

Stamina and drive

According to Boateng, such stamina and drive to achieve will come through in the football of any team he takes charge of.

"I buy into Johan Cryuff's philosophy that if we have the ball, the opponent can't score, so possession is key. We Dutch people can't defend to save our lives, we defend by attacking," he said.

Paying tribute to the structured nature of the country and the fact that Singaporean footballers are "quick learners", Boateng was refreshingly candid about his motives.

"I am looking for a job, hopefully in managing a team which will be a new challenge for me," he said.

"I'm not bragging, but if I want to achieve something, I'll do whatever it takes to get there."

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